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Lack of offense dooms No. 5 LSU in Lambeau loss to Wisconsin

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Two years ago, LSU and Wisconsin met in Houston for the front end of this odd home-and-home. The Badgers built a 24-7 lead and lost 28-24. For most of the second half, it appeared history would repeat itself. The Badgers built a 13-0 lead and watched it slip away in a matter of six plays. But a late field goal and an even later interception allowed Wisconsin to secure a 16-14 upset of No. 5 LSU at Lambeau Field.

Wisconsin owned the first half, and continued that dominance into the second, forcing a three-and-out on LSU’s first possession, then stuffing the ball 58 yards in five snaps to notch the game’s first touchdown — a five-yard Corey Clement jaunt to put Wisconsin up 13-0 at the 10:47 mark of the third quarter.

The Badgers forced another punt on their next defensive possession, the fifth of the day, but Wisconsin quarterback Bart Houston (looking extreeeemly Bart Houston, with his t-shirt sleeves descending below his jersey sleeves) did the one thing he absolutely, positively could not do: a forced interception on 3rd-and-long from deep in his own territory. Tre’Davious White zigged and zagged across the field to put LSU on the board with an 18-yard pick six at the 5:28 mark of the third quarter.

LSU took advantage of the momentum on their next possession as quarterback Brandon Harris finally sprung to life, finding Leonard Fournette for a 31-yard connection and Travin Dural for a 10-yard touchdown, giving the Tigers a 14-13 lead.

The teams traded punts on their next five possessions before Wisconsin took the lead with 3:47 to go on a 47-yard Rafael Gaglianone field goal.

On the ensuing possession, LSU (0-1) moved from its 25 to the Wisconsin 35 with plenty of time for a game-winning field goal, but Harris through an interception to the chest of Wisconsin defensive back D’Cota Dixon with 57 ticks to go. The pick was a fitting end for LSU, as its offense let the defense and special teams down for the previous 59 minutes as well. For the day the Tigers mustered only 14 first downs and 257 total yards. They converted 2-of-10 third downs and snapped the ball just 50 times to Wisconsin’s 71, dooming their defense to spend 37 of the game’s 60 minutes on the field. Fournette managed 138 yards on 23 carries and three receptions for 38 yards, but failed to dominate the game the way his numbers indicated. Harris connected on 12-of-21 passes for 131 yards with a touchdown and two picks.

Wisconsin (1-0), meanwhile, managed just enough offense to get out of its own way. The Badgers survived not only Houston’s pick six, but also another Houston interception near the LSU goal line and a turnover on downs at the LSU 23. For the day, Houston hit 19-of-31 passes for 205 yards, while Clement rushed 21 times for 86 yards.

LSU’s loss is a rare moment of September weakness, both for itself and the SEC. Today’s result marks LSU’s first regular season non-conference loss since dropping the 2002 opener to Virginia Tech, and just the SEC’s fourth setback in 18 opening week neutral site games. It’s also the first time an SEC team has lost to a Big Ten foe with College GameDay in town to hype the contest; the SEC was 5-0 before today.

Former Baylor athletic director denies mishandling sexual assault claim, says he told Art Briles

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Baylor’s sprawling sexual assault scandal is increasingly starting to make its way through the court system and one major trial is already forcing several former school officials to defend themselves in their handling of the matter.

Ex-Bears athletic director Ian McCaw, who now holds the same position at FCS program Liberty, made a court filing in one such case on Friday according to the Associated Press. Not surprisingly, McCaw claimed that he properly handled the case of former player Tevin Elliott, who was convicted in 2014 of raping a woman and is currently behind bars.

McCaw told the court that upon learning of the allegations in one specific case at the time, he told then-head coach Art Briles about the matter and Elliott was subsequently suspended from the football team.

While Elliott was convicted on criminal grounds, former student Jasmin Hernandez has sued Baylor by accusing the university of violating Title IX as a result of keeping Elliott around despite multiple rape claims against him. It is one of several cases set to take place over the coming years in a scandal that led to the departures of McCaw, Briles and school president Ken Starr.

SEC leads NFL Draft for 11th straight year as Alabama and Michigan set school records

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The 2017 NFL Draft has come and gone, and once again it is the SEC claiming another NFL Draft national championship. A grand total of 53 players from the SEC were drafted by NFL teams. It is the 11th straight year the SEC has had the most players drafted by NFL teams.

The ACC ended the draft with 42 players drafted, followed by the Pac-12 (36) and Big Ten (35). The Big 12 ended the draft with just 14 players drafted.

Helping to contribute to the SEC’s NFL Draft total was Alabama setting a school record with 10 players drafted.

Alabama’s nine players drafted in the first 80 picks was also a new Alabama record.

Michigan ended up having more players drafted than any other Big Ten team, slipping past Ohio State by the time the draft closed up shop this year. For the Wolverines, 11 players ended up being drafted. The previous school record for draft picks was 10, set in 1972 and tied in 1974. Head coach Jim Harbaugh will get plenty of the praise for developing that many players getting a chance to be drafted, but Brady Hoke should be recognized for recruiting those players as well (and blamed for not developing the talent he brought in).

 

Air Force changes rules for football players with NFL aspirations

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One of the top players from Air Force was ineligible to be drafted by the NFL this weekend, and it had nothing to do with NFL rules. It also had nothing to do with NFL teams backing away from a particular player due to off-field concerns. Instead, a policy at Air Force is what is to blame for wide receiver Jalen Robinette not moving on to the NFL at this time.

The U.S. Air Force will not approve requests from academy graduates to defer their two years of active duty in order to be allowed to play professional football. Just a year ago, the Department of Defense changed the policy to allow for the possibility, which made it possible for Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds to be allowed to play. Reynolds later joined the Baltimore Ravens. Reynolds had received a recommendation to be allowed to play by the U.S. Naval Academy.

“The Air Force notified academy leaders [Thursday] that the service would not approve requests to waiver active duty military commitments for cadet athletes,” a statement from Air Force read. “Cadets will be required to serve two years active duty prior to entering Ready Reserve, which would allow their participation in professional sports. The Air Force places tremendous value on our cadet athletes and their contributions to the nation as we continue to build leaders of character, engage in combat operations overseas and continue to ensure our highest military readiness at home.”

Because of the policy change and confirmation, Robinette was not able to be drafted. He may still have been a long shot to be drafted by an NFL Team, but the policy also means he is unable to be signed as an undrafted free agent as well.

Rawleigh Williams carted off at Arkansas scrimmage

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Any time a player that has previously undergone neck surgery goes down on the field and needs to be carted off is quite the scary moment. On Saturday, the Arkansas football program had that exact scare when Rawleigh Williams went down on the field in pain and ended up having to be carted off the practice field during the Arkansas scrimmage.

Williams was placed on a stretcher and taken out of the facility on a cart to receive medical attention. His legs and arms were moving on the ground, a slight sigh of relief given the hit and his injury history. In 2015, Williams was carted off and had to undergo surgery on his neck. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said the injury concern on Saturday was apparently not related to the previous neck injury, which was expected to have a full recovery.

It is an unfortunate ending to the spring for Williams, because all indications seemed to be he was certainly improving running the football. Bielema said earlier in the week Williams was running with more patience, which is always a key for a running back.

Arkansas moved its final scrimmage of the spring indoors due to bad weather rolling through the area.